Formulas Effectively Tackle a Growing Number of Toxic Threats

Decontamination foam, developed by Sandia National Laboratories, is being used to remove mold from a roof. The image is courtesy of Decon7, one of eight licensees of the decontamination foam.

Challenge

In a world with increasing chemical and biological hazards, including clandestine drug labs and emerging infectious diseases, safe, effective, and easy-to-use decontamination solutions are needed. 

Partnership

Sandia National Laboratories developed the Sandia Decon Formulation, a nontoxic, noncorrosive chemistry to neutralize chemical and biological warfare agents. Initially used in federal office buildings during the 2001 anthrax attacks, it later was deployed by the military as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since then the formulation has been used by first responders at the Dallas Ebola incident and the Boston Marathon bombings.

Although the Sandia Decon Formulation was first licensed over 10 years ago, many potential market segments remained unserved. A new strategy to more fully realize the technology’s potential has resulted in licensing of the Decon Formulation patent portfolio by eight additional companies in 2013 and 2014.

Solution

By tailoring the chemistry, deployment methods and packaging, the Sandia Decon Formulation is now available for use in a wide variety of applications. Focused chemistries allow production costs to be reduced for higher volume applications such as agriculture and laundry disinfection. Powder versions reduce shipping costs. New deployment methods such as charged aerosols enable the rapid decontamination of spaces such as aircraft and transportation centers.

Use for mold and meth-lab remediation is ongoing, and increased use as a disinfectant for agricultural (Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria) and human health (influenza, norovirus, MRSA) pathogens is gaining traction. Applications for bedbug remediation are being developed, and testing against emerging infectious agents such as Ebola continues.

Impact

New products incorporating these approaches provide improved ways to disinfect medical facilities, agricultural processing plants, sports facilities, transportation vehicles and hubs, and housing.

One licensee, SpectraShield Technologies, is targeting the healthcare market with a disinfectant product. In testing by Dr. Kelly Reynolds of the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, SpectraKill™ was proven effective against bacteria, viruses, molds, and spores occurring in hospital environments, eradicating these organisms “below detectable levels.”

Another licensee, Decon7 Systems, has developed specific chemistries for agricultural processing facilities and clothing decontamination.

High-volume markets are now being opened up, enabling broader utilization and reducing costs. With additional licensees and manufacturers, the Decon Formulation is now even more widely available to protect people from the dangers of chemical and biological hazards.

This article originally appeared in Sandia’s Partnerships Annual Report FY2014. To view, click here.